The City of Nanaimo got a chance this week to have a look at Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank’s plans for a new warehouse.
The food bank, which retrieves and redistributes perishable food from grocery stores and other sources, has outgrown its current warehouse and has submitted a development permit application for land on East Wellington and Hansen roads. Details were provided at city’s design advisory panel meeting Thursday, Jan. 26.
A one-storey warehouse and three-storey office facility is proposed on the 0.5-hectare site. The warehouse would serve as a reception and storage area for food, and a sorting area for the Empties 4 Food recycling program. The office would be situated at the rear of the building and there would also be an area for food pickup.
The proposed warehouse would be close to 24,000 square feet and the offices would be another 4,500 square feet, stated the application. A 0.5-metre variance, to 14.5m, is being sought for building height, as well as a 1.8m variance for a buffer zone along land adjacent to Hansen Road.
The metal-cladded building would have “ribbon windows” in the bottle processing area to let in daylight and add visual interest, the application noted.
The plans call for 38 parking spaces, 13 of them underground. The proposal notes that bicycle and pedestrian access would be located on the south side of the facility along Hansen Road.
Peter Sinclair, Loaves and Fishes’ executive director, said the non-profit organization has expanded and supplies food for the Nanaimo area as well as areas outside the city.
“There is lots of food out there, in fact there is more than enough food to feed everyone,” Sinclair told the panel. “The challenge is making sure that we have the logistics, the systems and the infrastructure in place to make sure that that food gets to the vulnerable people who need it.”
The panel recommended adding weather protection over loading bay doors, additional bicycle parking, a shower facility, more trees along the site and utilizing complementary materials for roof-top equipment, but recommended that the application move forward with the requested variances.
In December 2021, the city announced it had purchased the land for $1.3 million and approved a 30-year lease to Loaves and Fishes for $10.
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